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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - A University of Alabama freshman died Saturday, three weeks after she was hit in the head with a ball while playing soccer with friends.
Allie Brodie, 18, of Danville, California, succumbed to complications of pneumonia, according to the Tuscaloosa News. She was in a medically-induced coma at the time of her death.
“Heaven has gained a beautiful guardian angel, and we continue to seek peace in God’s plan for our sweet girl,” her mother, Cindy Brodie, wrote in announcing her death, according to a GoFundMe page in her name.
The fundraising page, established to help with her medical costs, stated that Brodie was struck in the head with a soccer ball as she played Oct. 7 with new friends she had made on campus. Over the next few days, she suffered worsening symptoms that led her to the emergency room.
Surgery soon followed, after doctors discovered bleeding in Brodie’s brain.
“The emergency surgery for intracranial hemorrhage required her to be put into a medically-induced coma and led to a diagnosis of a very serious condition: brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM), a condition she was born with,” the GoFundMe page read. “The trauma of being hit by the soccer ball and AVM triggered internal bleeding in her brain stem.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, AVM is a tangle of abnormal blood vessels that connect the arteries and veins in the brain. The condition, which affects fewer than 1 percent of the population, most often occurs in the brain or spine.
An AVM in the brain disrupts the veins’ ability to carry oxygen-depleted blood back to a person’s lungs and heart. Though some cases of AVM cause symptoms, like headaches or seizures, it is common for them to be diagnosed when a person is being treated for another medical issue, or for them to be discovered only after the vessels rupture and cause a brain bleed.
Brodie is survived by her mother and two sisters, including a twin sister who is studying at Kings College in London, the GoFundMe page said.
The University of Alabama’s Alpha Delta Chi chapter, of which Brodie was a member, is holding a candlelight vigil Wednesday night in her honor.
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of our sister, Allie Brodie,” the Christian sorority’s Facebook page read on Sunday. “Though we only knew her a short time, Allie made a significant impact on our sisters.”
A high school friend, Stephen Zipkin, wrote on social media that Brodie’s death had “absolutely torn (him) apart.”
“There are so few people on the earth as intelligent, kind or passionate as she is,” Zipkin wrote. “I have been lucky to learn and graduate alongside her, to talk to her and to know her. I am happy that she was here and saddened that she was not here longer.”